Here’s a clue: if you can read a magazine or watch TV while working out…it isn’t nearly intense enough! The bad news is effective workouts are tough. The good news is they are over quicker and they actually work. Why waste an hour working out at minimal intensity when you can work hard for 30 minutes and get more accomplished?
So, ramp up the intensity level! On cardio equipment try doing intervals where you run hard for a minute, then go at your normal pace for a minute. Alternate like that for 20 minutes. Your fast pace should be about a “7” on a scale of “1-10” to start with. As you improve, work up to where your fast intervals are all out sprints, “9” to “10.”
On machines or free weights, come up with 4-6 different exercises then see if you can do each exercise back to back with no rest in between. Once you finish the 4-6 exercises, rest for 1 minute then repeat the circuit 3 more times. When you can do the circuit 6 times, pick new exercise and start over, but with only 30 seconds rest in between circuits. Work up to 6 times through the circuit again.
In the beginning, you will probably have to rest some in between exercises because you can’t do them back to back. That’s alright; as your conditioning improves you will be able to get away with less and less rest.
Make sure to include an upper body pushing exercise (bench press, chest press, shoulder press), an upper body pull (row, lat pull down, pull ups, dead lift) a lower body exercise (squat, leg press, lunges) and perhaps an abdominal/core exercise (sit-ups, planks, leg lifts, back extension). Do 10-15 reps of each exercise with a light to medium weight in the beginning and adjust up from there based on your goals. You know your workout is intense enough when you can’t carry on a conversation…i.e. “huffing and puffing.”